In the heat of the summer, I am always looking for light, easy recipes that do not require the use of the oven. These are two of our favorite pasta recipes that fit the bill perfectly. Enjoy!
Summer Shrimp Pasta
1 lb (16-20) frozen shrimp (peeled and deveined)
2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3/4 lb tomatoes, coarsely diced (retain all juices)-- in a pinch, I've used diced canned tomatoes
1/4 c. (scant) olive oil
1/4 tsp. dried crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 grated parmesan cheese
8 oz penne pasta
1/4 c. fresh basil, coarsely chopped
zest of one medium lemon
Clean, peel and devein the shrimp (or buy the pre-cooked frozen shrimp, and make life a whole lot easier). Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, combine garlic, tomatoes, olive oil, red pepper, dried basil, dried oregano, salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese in serving bowl. Set aside to warm at room temperature so flavors mingle.
Saute shrimp. Combine shrimp and drained, cooked pasta in bowl with tomatoe mixture. Sprinkle with the fresh basil and lemon zest. Toss well. Serve slightly cool (about room temperature) topped with extra Parmesan.
For an extra treat, slice the zested lemon and drop in a pitcher of iced water. The lemon water adds an elegant and refreshing touch to any dinner.
Orecchiette with leeks, peas and pecorino
1 lb dry orecchiette pasta, or some other short pasta (orecchiette looks like small shells with a pretty scalloped edge)
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 leeks, thinly sliced and rinsed well to remove sand (leeks are grown in sand)
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 10 oz. package frozen peas, thawed
3/4 c. cream (or whole milk)
1 c. grated Pecorino (if you can't find Pecorino, use Parmesan, or Romano or any other hard, salty cheese)
2 tsp. lemon zest
1/4 c. fresh mint leaves, torn (I've substituted basil for the mint plenty of times-- it's just what you have on hand at the moment)
Cook the pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, saute the leeks in the olive oil, seasoned with the salt and 1/4 tsp of the pepper, for about 7 minutes, or until soft. Add the garlic and the peas and cook for 2 minutes more. Stir in the cream and 3/4 c. of the Pecorino. Simmer until sauce has thickened slightly, about 4 minutes. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Top with the sauce, lemon zest, mint, and toss. Serve sprinkled with the remaining Pecorino and pepper.